Saturday, November 14, 2009

The National Article, Dubai

This just in: an unusual place to find Curious Sofa:
( go here. to see the article)

The article by Stacy Downs

Although located in a cheery setting in the US heartland, the store’s interior reflects the offbeat pen-and-ink drawings of the famous author and illustrator who fancied morbid Victorian and Edwardian styles.The owner, Debbie Dusenberry, designed the space to look old, adding brick columns, decayed plaster, aged wallpaper and tin ceiling tiles.

One of the few pops of colour comes from the faded blue of antique globes in the stationery department, which also features vintage-inspired maps. Dusenberry has a penchant for paper, especially when it’s tattered and brown after decades of use. She often decorates the backs of cabinets with torn-out book pages and the walls with antique sepia photographs she finds at garage and estate sales.

The displays are always imaginative: for Halloween she assembled broken umbrellas, shattered windows, crusty antiques, battered bicycles, black crows and gnarly tree branches to create a dramatic, haunted opera theme.

The macabre-yet-magical aesthetic comes from Dusenberry’s previous incarnation as a photo stylist. She also designed sets for television commercials and worked on several movies.

After years of buying antiques for photo shoots and her home, Dusenberry opened Curious Sofa in 2000.
“I’m such a visual person and I appreciate the design in everyday things,” she says. “I knew there were others who must feel the same way.”

Initially, Curious Sofa was located in an emerging bohemian area of downtown Kansas City called the Crossroads Arts District. But four years ago, Dusenberry moved to a space more than twice the size in nearby Prairie Village. “It’s got the same stuff, but much, much more of it,” says Dusenberry.

Curious Sofa’s tagline “less than serious surroundings,” comes through in its unexpected vintage finds. Dusenberry recently sold an old metal hospital gurney that would make a perfect sofa table or kitchen island, and a three-metre zinc-covered oyster shucking table from a New Orleans restaurant. Artists buy the store’s apothecary cabinets for organising their supplies.

The architectural salvage includes doors to use as table tops, columns as room dividers and cast-iron accessories to add interest.Vintage chandeliers are a staple, both glitzy crystal pieces and streamlined metal fixtures.

“The antique furniture we sell is almost always painted instead of stained as I feel it’s easier to care for and represents a more casual lifestyle,” says Dusenberry. “We like a few chips on our chairs and a frayed edge on a lampshade. It’s just easier to live with items that are not so precious.”

Mixed in are new pieces: soy-wax candles by the Kansas City-based Pickwick & Co, Hillhouse Naturals home fragrances, Bella Notte linens, Echo France bath products, and costume jewellery.

And yes, Curious Sofa sells sofas – from the California-based Taylor Scott Collection (starting at US$2,770 (Dh10,175) – as well as furniture by Best Slipcover Company of California and French Grey, UK.Among it all Dusenberry is easy to spot – she’s the one wearing her signature newsboy cap and carrying her powder-puff white bichon frise, Pearl.

Prairie Village, Kansas, + 1 913 432 8969,

The pictures they chose: go here.